Paying Tribute to Perrier’s Le Bec-Fin. Saturday was the final night for dinner at the famed Philadelphia eatery Le Bec-Fin, at least under founder and famed owner Georges Perrier. And a sellout of 132 people (including food-and-beverage intelligentsia, as The20’s @victorfiorillo calls it) paid tribute to the legendary chef and his eatery. Fiorillo, who recapped the final dinner at Foobooz, said of Perrier’s speeches on Saturday:
“I’m not exactly sure how many speeches he made during this final night of service, but there were at least four during my time there and all of them contained the perfect amount of passion, sadness, reflection, and humor and elicited much applause and raised glasses. He shook lots of hands, gave lots of hugs, and embraced my dining companion (a former Le Bec waiter he hadn’t seen in 12 years) three times. And I never once heard him use the name “Craig LaBan” and a profanity in the same sentence.”
More from Philly.com Insider Michael Klein:
“The chef (Perrier) was ebullient, calling on people to give toasts in his honor while a New York Times photog snapped away. The Veuve flowed, and bottles of whiskey were passed around. Robert Bennett of Classic Cake Co., who was Perrier’s pastry chef for 14 years, called him “my father” and disclosed to Perrier that his famous marmalade recipe was actually Perrier’s mother’s. Shola Olunloyo recalled how Perrier would visit chefs’ stations. “Everyone had a moment when Chef came to you and said, ‘This is wrong, wrong, wrong,’ but would show you why it was wrong and how it could be made better.” Pastry chef Rocco Lugrine, who started with Perrier as a 17-year-old and worked for him for 10 years, said, “This is kind of where I grew up. Le Bec-Fin made me a better chef.”
New owner Nicolas Fanucci, who takes over the restaurant after six years as general manager at famed Napa Valley eatery “The French Laundry” was also in attendance, and he maintains that he’ll keep the name after renovations are completed this May. Regardless of how well the new Le Bec-Fin does, it will never be the same as Perrier’s institution that stood for just over 41 years.
VIDEO: Watch Perrier’s 2010 visit to The 10! Show
Did you have a memorable experience at Le Bec-Fin? What made it so special? Let us know in the comments below.
[@victorfiorillo, Foobooz, Philly.com, The 10! Show]
Photo: Mary Schwind